Giuseppe Bellusci is edging towards a departure from Leeds United with Empoli in talks about a deal for the defender.
A source close to negotiations told the YEP that an agreement over Bellusci was “close” following fresh discussions between Leeds and Empoli in the past week.
The Serie A club have a long-standing interest in Bellusci and the two sides are understood to be discussing a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal.
United want Empoli to pay a loan fee as part of the initial transfer.
Bellusci’s place at Elland Road is under threat amid plans to bring new central defenders to Leeds before the start of the Championship season and the attempt to move him on comes on the back of two controversial years in England.
His first campaign was marred by accusations of racism made against him by Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome - accusations which Bellusci was later cleared of by the Football Association - and he was one of six foreign players who pulled out injured at short notice ahead of a game at Charlton Athletic in April 2014.
Those withdrawals were widely seen as an attempt to undermine then head coach Neil Redfearn, though the club defended all six and insisted that their injuries were genuine.
Bellusci, meanwhile, was dropped by former boss Steve Evans for disciplinary reasons towards the end of last season. He missed the last three games of the term.
Italian interest in Bellusci has been apparent for some time and Leeds were rumoured to have received a seven-figure bid for the 26-year-old from Verona in January.
Empoli, who finished mid-table in Serie A last season, have now stepped forward with an offer of their own and are looking to close out a deal quickly.
Bellusci is currently in Italy having missed the start of pre-season training due to family issues. He has two years left on the contract he signed when Leeds bought him from Catania in 2014.